In 2019, the AdventHealth Global Missions team traveled to Iquitos, Peru, to attend an event celebrating Seventh-day Adventist hospitals. Monty Jacobs, AdventHealth Global Missions Director, and Andrea Ward, Global Missions Program Manager, re-established contact with an old friend, Norca Huamalíes, a physician, who at the time was serving as medical director of the Good Hope Clinic in Lima. It was at this event that Dr. Huamalíes received a phone call that changed her life and also created a new opportunity for AdventHealth Global Missions.
When that call ended, Dr. Huamalíes explained to the group in Spanish, through Ward's translation, that she had been called by the Ecuadorian Union of Seventh-day Adventists to serve at an Adventist hospital in Quito, Ecuador. Dr. Huamalíes told the group that she had doubts about whether to leave her friends and family.
"Did you hear the story of Ruth and Naomi ?" Jacobs asked.
"Yes," she replied.
“So where you go, we will go,” he told her, referring to AdventHealth and the team's intention to achieve a partnership with the Ecuador hospital.
These words were a great consolation for Dr. Huamalíes.
About three years later, the Global Missions team, along with Mike Schultz, AdventHealth President/CEO for the West Florida Division, and Joey Rivera, Assistant Vice President of Mission and Ministry for the same division, signed a letter of intent to AdventHealth to partner with the only medical institution in Quito, Ecuador: the Quito Adventist Clinic, where the current director is Dr. Huamalíes.
Establishment of the company
The letter of intent formalized the status of the Quito Adventist Clinic as one of the 11 partners in AdventHealth's Global Missions program, which establishes long-term relationships for the exchange of resources and experience between AdventHealth and medical institutions around the world.
The Adventist Clinic in Quito is an acute care hospital that was built 60 years ago, initially on a 3,000m lot with minimal renovations since its construction. The most recent reforms consisted of the construction of operating rooms and inpatient rooms in 2020.
Both the Quito Adventist Clinic and AdventHealth teams have continued with meetings amid the pandemic to identify additional goals and projects for the hospital.
"Unfortunately, due to the increase in COVID-19 cases, travel to Ecuador has been postponed until further notice," said Schultz. "But the West Florida leadership team continued with their meetings with the Ecuador team, through digital platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, to evaluate objectives and opportunities at the Quito Adventist Clinic."
Initially, the West Florida team determined that personal protective equipment (PPE) was an area of opportunity in which AdventHealth could help and, thus they carried out the delivery of those supplies to the hospital. In the summer of 2021, the Division also collected medical teams from various campuses to send to Ecuador.
“Our goal was never simply to flood the institution with money,” explained Rivera. “We wanted to start building relationships and identifying areas where they can make a lasting impact on the quality of care that the hospital provides in Quito. In our meetings, we also identified an imaging center as a growth opportunity in the facility, in addition to the PPE we ship."
The next project will be to build a diagnostic imaging center, including a reception area, an operating room, and equipment for tomography, ultrasound, and echocardiography. AdventHealth will assist the Quito Adventist Clinic in raising funds to purchase the equipment for the imaging center and will add whatever is needed to the building.
Objectives and projection
The Quito Adventist Clinic's collaboration with AdventHealth will also focus on other key growth areas, such as the expansion of the chaplaincy program, leadership development, operations, research, philanthropy, and brand management. Dr. Huamalíes said the following about the collaboration between these two institutions: “On behalf of myself and Pastor Giovany Izquierdo, President of the Ecuadorian Union of Seventh-day Adventists, we are very grateful for Ecuador's intention to become another presence in the AdventHealth Global Missions program. “We are eager to work together to fulfill the mission in favor of the community here in Ecuador and our hospital is the basis of this work. We appreciate being the recipients of the assistance that AdventHealth can provide us, as they have always done with other institutions in other countries. May God bless these plans, projects, and institutions, and may He bless all of you ”.
Travel to Ecuador was suspended in 2021 due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases. The Global Missions and West Florida teams plan to visit the Quito Adventist Clinic in 2022.